March 29, 2012

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas

spicy roasted chickpeas

Time to discuss healthy eating once again.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm struggling this time around with my battle for weight loss.  Everyone knows that losing weight requires two key elements: diet and exercise.  Unfortunately, I'm having a difficult time sticking with both.  Exercising after work sounds like no fun at all once I've sat through 45 minutes of bumper to bumper traffic and I know I have a million other things to accomplish that evening.  This problem, though easier said than done, should be easy to solve.  It's all about my own personal motivation.  I just have to make myself "do it".  I need to find that will that makes me crawl out of bed at 6 am to go for an early morning run or drive straight to the gym after work instead of going home with the intentions of working out that quickly fade into a thought of "I'll workout tomorrow instead..." Like I said, easier said than done.

drained chickpeas

Diet is the element of weight loss that I think requires much more planning and proactive commitment.  It's much more difficult to stick with a diet when you're grabbing lunch on the go, fighting mid afternoon hunger pangs with a bag of Gardetto's from the vending machine (as I did yesterday) or eating out for dinner because you didn't have time to go to the grocery store that week.  Being able to enjoy a healthy lunch, afternoon snack and dinner (assuming that each of these have been made in your own kitchen) is much more demanding than it sounds.  It requires plenty of thinking ahead with menu planning, grocery shopping and food prep.

pre-baked chickpeas

Of course it's always easier to prep tomorrow's breakfast and lunch the night before (that gives me at least 20 extra minutes to hit the snooze button), but I still don't want to spend hours in the kitchen, after a long day at work, slicing and dicing things to get into place for the next day.  I want meals and snacks that can be made in a snap so that I can't give myself an excuse for not hitting the gym after work.

chickpeas shaken in a bag

So I'm beginning a search for healthy quick fix foods that will keep me satisfied throughout the day.  These Spicy Roasted Chickpeas are my lasted find, which I discovered via Pinterest. (Side note: are you on Pinterest?  If you're not, you should be! It's definitely my new favorite way to waste time, but it's also fun and, I think, quite useful- especially for people like me who are constantly bookmarking or ripping pages out of magazines for things I want to remember or save for later).  Anyways, these chickpeas are incredibly easy, require very little prep and almost no clean up.  I get bored sitting in front of my computer all day at work, which makes me want to constantly snack.  I don't feel guilty munching on these throughout the day though and the added bonus is that they're actually quite delicious and flavorful.  So, healthy eating...?  I'm getting there.  Now, I just have to start hitting the gym.

crunchu chickpeas for a healthy snack

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Recipe Adapted from Willow Bird Baking

2, 15 oz cans low sodium garbanzo beans
3 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ancho chili powder
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1. Drain garbanzo beans of their liquid and rinse under cold water in a colander.  Lay out on paper towels to dry completely.  

2. Preheat the oven to 400º F.  Line a baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil.  Spread the garbanzo beans out in a single layer on the foil. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes.

3. While the chickpeas are cooking, combine the chili powders, olive oil, lime juice, sea salt, cumin and cilantro in a small bowl and set aside. After the chickpeas are done cooking, let them cool for a minute, then pour them into a large Ziplock bag. Pour the oil mixture into the bag, seal and then shake to evenly coat the chickpeas. 

4. Pour the chickpeas back onto the baking sheet and continue to bake for 10 minutes longer or until the chickpeas are really crunchy. Enjoy and store in an air tight container.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

March 4, 2012

Pepperoni Pizza Dip

pizza as a dip, what a great idea!

I’ve learned that I need to start prepping for certain holidays weeks in advance for the benefit of this blog.  I would love to feature a dish that would shine during a particular time of year.  I’ve attempted this in the past, but failed rather miserably.  My Christmas Croquembouche was posted Christmas Eve, which didn’t allow near enough time for someone to make their own croquembouche for a Christmas festivity, had they wanted to.   I had planned on making rosy pink macarons for Valentine’s Day… which, as I’m sure you can tell, I did not.   Furthermore, this featured ooey gooey, cheesy Pepperoni Pizza Dip was intended for Super Bowl Sunday.   And if I’m not mistaken, I believe it is now March. Only a month past due.

easy as 1, 2, 3, 4

I can’t beat myself up too much, I guess.   I’ve never been one to be punctual- and you can forget expecting me to be ahead of schedule.   I’d also like to mention that I’m superb at procrastinating or pushing things aside.   Nevertheless, I’m determined to get better.  There is always room for improvement and that’s what I like to think of this blog as: my own personal log of self-advancement. It’s a diary for my growth as an individual.  A place where I can share my thoughts and the current events of my life, as well as tracking the progress I’ve made over time.

supreme pizz dip

For instance, wouldn’t you agree that I’ve improved vastly on my photography skills?   You only need compare my current photos from this post or perhaps this one to the posts when I first began this little blog, with Chicken Milanese or Summer Peach Cupcakes.  I’d also like to think my skills in the kitchen have improved as well.  That’s why I sometimes select recipes that might be a little too involved or over complicated.  I think it’s fun challenging myself to learn a new technique.

ooey gooey pizza dip

So maybe in time for Easter this year I will have posted a stunning leg of lamb recipe for you all to try out in time to serve on Easter Sunday.  After all, recognizing the problem is the first step to self-improvement.

beware, this dip goes fast!

Pepperoni Pizza Dip
Adapted from Closet Cooking

4 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup light mayonnaise (preferably Hellman's)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated parmesan, divided
1 cup jarred pizza sauce
2-3 oz pepperoni slices (I used a mix of regular and mini- the mini slices are just so cute!)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green pepper
2 tbsp sliced black olives
1/4 cup sliced button mushrooms

1 crusty French baguette

1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup parmesan together in a small bowl, and spread it evenly across the bottom of a 9" pie pan.

2. Spread the pizza sauce on top then sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.  Top with the pepperoni slices, green pepper, black olives and mushrooms.

3. Bake until the cheese is melted, bubbling and golden brown on top, about 20 minutes.  Serve with a sliced baguette. Enjoy!

Serves 6-8 (or in my case, just Jon and I :-)